One thing I have to comment Joe Satriani on is his liquid ability to change with the times, and still retain his amazing ability as an instrumental guitarist. He’s been able to do this for quite a long time.
Engines of Creation is very different; I don’t know if I can stress this enough. For those of you who are Satriani fans, be warned. If you’re looking for more traditional rock-type instrumental guitar, this may not be for you. There’s a lot of experimentation here with synthesizers and drum machines, but it sounds amazing. It’s got a much different feel from what he’s done before; let me see if I can explain why.
Traditional Satriani music gives you a certain feeling, a kind of warm, relaxed, yet very energetic state of mind. There’s also a slightly sci-fi feeling that I get from songs like “Ice 9” and “Surfing with the Alien.” It also makes me think of chillin’ out in my room reading comic books, even though I don’t really read comic books, but that’s unimportant. The point is, his music is very introspective; it gives you an inner jive. “Engines of Creation” does the same thing, only in a different way.
The new album is much more intense, and also much more visual. What I’m making reference to here is Satriani’s ability to create songs that actually sound like their title. For example, “Borg Sex” off the new album seriously sounds like robots having sex. This is something that just cannot be described, it must be heard. “Champagne?” is the same way, and so is “The Power Cosmic 2000.” You might be wondering what a “Power Cosmic 2000” sounds like. Well, have a listen and you’ll find out.
Let me relate a dream I had once: I was just standing around, minding my own business, when suddenly I found myself underground. I was in an inexplicably huge chamber, and there were no lights, but for some reason I was able to see. All around me were machines. Big, oily, greasy, fume-spewing machines; they were everywhere. They were embedded in the earthy walls, chugging away, serving their purpose in some way I could not understand. They were not made of earth, but iron, and were composed of many cylinders, pipes, and chains. Somehow I suddenly knew that these were the keepers of the earth, and that it was these machines that kept everything going in my world, and that if they were to fail, or stop running in any way, all would be lost.
This is the only way to describe Engines of Creation. It is a sample of what is keeping us going, an example of what we should be thankful for. Buy this album or all will be lost. Or, you can just check out www.satriani.com.
// Notes from the Road
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